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The Beatitudes of the Heart: A Brief Reflection

Blessed are those who feel the weight of their spiritual need.
Blessed are those whose hearts break over sin and evil.
Blessed are the gentle and humble of heart.
Blessed are those who are thirsty and hungry for righteousness.
Blessed are those who love to shower forth mercy.
Blessed are those whose hearts are unstained.
Blessed are those who mend relationships with the salve of peace.
Blessed are those who suffer while following Christ.

It’s such a simple observation, but when I write out The Beatitudes in my own words, wanting to feel what is being said afresh, I am struck by how heart-centered they truly are.  Rather than revolving around codes of dress or some other external manifestation, Christ plows deep into the soul of man, right into our beating hearts.  It is all about attitudes; and affections; and dispositions; the very deepest; the kind that not only swirl in the center but center on the whole- man in his totality.

It is the very best kind of focus.

I am also struck by another simple observation.  God wants these realities to constitute the sum total of his people.  Everyone is to be truly happy as they reflect and embody a goodness that is inherently sublime.  One might here think of Paul’s words […]

An Assortment of Audio!

It’s been a good week in the world of podcasting.  Lots of juicy episodes and discussions.

Here are a few that just might interest you:

Policing is Racially Biased – Intelligence Squared Debates.  Listen in as four qualified people debate the question of discrimination in police activity.
Should Christians Embrace or Reject Theistic Evolution? – Unbelievable.  This is a very instructive debate.  Listen carefully to Mr. Alexander’s (the theistic evolutionist) theological rationale for suffering and evil.  It is truly incredible- which is to say incredibly weak.
An Evening with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris (part one and two).  I believe that it is vitally important to hear and understand what the New Atheists are saying.  They continue to shape the minds of many Americans, especially the younger generation.  If we are not familiar with their way of thinking, we will not be prepared to intelligently engage it.

Some Recent Resources on Roman Catholicism

A few things that have recently come across my radar:

John 6 For Roman Catholics, James White.  Dr. White walks through John 6 slowly, demonstrating Rome’s over reading of the text.
Why I’m not Catholic, Steve Hays: A concise summation of some of the problems one ought to have with Roman Catholicism.
Debates with Roman Catholics, James White: Speaking of James White, he has spent a great deal of time debating and interacting with Roman Catholic apologists.  For a taste, check out his debate page.  Keep your eye out for White’s next debate on “Can Christians Lose Their Salvation?” with RC apologist Trent Horn.  That is scheduled for tomorrow.

So You Want to Start a Book Club

Or at least I do. In fact, this year I’ve put out the call to my local church, assembling into one glorious band of reading brothers all those who have shown interest, or even partial interest, seeing how I’m not above cajoling the hesitant.

I’ve never done this before. Nor have I been a part of one. So it’s uncharted territory. But it sounds like fun.

Here’s how I envision it (and perhaps such visions of grandeur will inspire someone in another local body of believers to start a book club). I imagine us men tackling a book a month. The text could be political in nature, or theological, or cultural, or historical or whatever. No door stoppers. No arcane manuscripts from days medieval. Just good, thought-provoking books that not only challenge the mind, but sharpen the spirit. Or simply elicit joy.

I then imagine us sitting around together, once a month, like Oxford dons ornamented with cigars and golden drinks. As the evening waxes long, and as the shadows from the suit of armor in the corner deepen, we continue to pontificate into the night, solving the world’s problems and cracking the deep mysteries of life.

So that’s basically the format. […]

A Brief Reflection on Eternal Life and Proximity to God

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

It’s an amazing concept. To know God is to have eternal life.

Of course, one can immediately puzzle over the thought. Demons know God but do not have eternal life. So the knowing in view here must be of a specific sort. It has to be knowledge rooted in more than merely the acquisition of propositional facts. Jeopardy contestants may answer rightly many questions about God, but they may not have eternal life. The one does not necessarily follow from the other.

There appears to be, therefore, an intimate relationship between knowing and intimacy. Here one can think of how the Scriptures often play on the idea proximity, or our closeness to God. Let your mind Google through the Scriptures. Adam and Eve walked with the LORD in the coolness of the evening. But when they sinned, they were cast out of His paradise and away from His presence. The LORD filled the Temple. The Jews entered the Promised Land. But when they spurned the Lord, like an adulterous woman, the Land spewed them out, and the Lord’s presence vacated […]

3GT Episode 20: Common Grace? Paranormal Activity?

In this episode, the guys catch up a bit (until the 13 minute mark) and then move into their two main topics: common grace and demon possession.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/3gt-21.mp3

Download

The article by Dr. Richard Gallagher can be found here.

My book on the subject of Satan’s fall and its influence on history can be found here for free.

A Bit of Audio

A few picks for the podcast inclined:

Intelligence Squared Debates: Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship? A fair-minded debate exploring the issue.
Sam Harris Podcast, Waking Up: The Most Powerful Clown. While Sam Harris certainly lands on the left, his analysis of Trump is still fair at many points and deserves a listen (though keep in mind he is an outspoken atheist).
Unbelievable: What Happened at the Cross? N.T. Wright and Tom Schreiner debate. In typical fashion, N.T. Wright foregrounds what should be situated more in the background. This leads to a misplacement of emphasis which can prove to be more than a little frustrating.

On quick note, the next episode of 3GT should be releasing soon.  Do forgive our tardiness!  But it should be a good one. So stay tuned!

Is the Write-In Vote that Ill-Conceived? A Brief Response to Pastor Robert Jeffress

I had one of those long, face scrunching moments while reading Dr. Robert Jeffress’ article “Why Christians must vote in this election (staying home is not an option).” It’s found here in the Fox News Opinion section.

My facial contortion began right out of the gate. Here’s how Pastor Jeffress begins,

“I hear the lament often from conservative Christians as I travel the country: ‘How can I vote for either of these candidates with a clear conscience?’

Increasingly, many Christians are choosing the stay-at-home option (or throw away their vote with a write-in candidate option) as a way to maintain their integrity.

Frankly, I understand the appeal of such a choice. Not voting allows Christians to avoid both having to make a difficult choice or defending an unpopular choice to disapproving friends or family members. And let’s face it, playing the “conscience card” allows someone to feel holier than other Christians who sully themselves by getting involved in the political process.”

Now in an election where rhetoric already registers a ten on the Richter scale, one might hope for more charity (expressed through fairness) in the Christian quadrant. But as one might have noticed, that isn’t always […]